Danish Minister Says Fasting Muslims Are 'A Danger To All Of Us'

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“This is a minister who is supposed to strengthen integration and strengthen social cohesion between population groups. But she’s doing the opposite.”

 

A Danish minister sparked outrage after she suggested Muslims who fast for Ramadan should take time off from work “to avoid negative consequences for the rest of Danish society.”

Inger Stojberg is Denmark’s immigration minister. She wrote a column in Danish tabloid BT where she said fasting while working raises practical, security and productivity challenges in a modern society.

The minister particularly pointed at bus drivers and people who work in hospitals and said if they don’t eat or drink it can be very dangerous and risky for the society as they won’t be able to focus on their work and may endanger the lives of the people in their care.

Following Stojberg’s comments, bus companies said they have never experienced a problem with Muslims fasting.

A spokesman for the Arriva bus company in Denmark, Pia Hammershoy Splittorff, said there's no history of bus accidents during Ramadan.

“In most Muslim countries, stores and businesses continue operating as normally. We ran some information campaigns and had a Ramadan flier with advice on how to drive during Ramadan. We’ve done that for some years, but have also ascertained it wasn’t necessary. So, de facto it's not a problem for us,” said the spokesperson.

The country’s Muslim community also denounced the minister’s comments.

“This is a minister who is supposed to strengthen integration and strengthen social cohesion between population groups. But she’s doing the opposite: She’s stirring up a debate based on no figures, no statistics and no anecdotes,” said Natasha Al-Hariri, an integration consultant.

Members of Denmark’s center-right Liberal Party, which is also Stojberg’s party, condemned the comments.

“In Denmark there’s room for everybody — if you believe in Jesus, Allah or Buddha — as long as you mind your duties and take responsibility for your actions,” said Fatma Oktem, a party member.

Jacob Jensen, a Liberal Member of Parliament, wrote on Facebook urging people to focus on “real problems.”

He also gave an interview where he said, “If a nurse didn’t eat or had been to a Christmas party, there’s a head nurse to handle it. It’s not something for us politicians to get involved in.”

Stojberg is known to take a hardline on the country’s immigration policies and this isn’t the first time she has made headlines.

In 2017, she posted a picture with a cake on Facebook where she celebrated the passing of the 50th amendment of the Denmark’s immigration restriction. “Today I got the 50th amendment to tighten immigration controls ratified. This needs celebrating!” she wrote in the post.

She uploaded the picture on social media at a time when Europe was facing backlash against immigration.

 

 

 

Spotlight, Banner: Reuters, Osman Orsal

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